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Summer Update From Washington DC

I’m spending this summer by the shore of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But I did go back to Washington, DC for the 112th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), held from July 13 to 16. Despite the usual hot and humid weather, the meeting was well attended and quite stimulating.

I spent a considerable amount of time in the Exhibit Hall, meeting vendor friends and colleagues and catching up on the latest updates. The news that might be of the most interest to you is that access to the Indigenous Law Portal, which was described by F. Tim Knight in his Slaw post on June 29, 2015, has been transferred from the Law Library of Congress to LLMCdigital. Access to the Indigenous Law Portal will remain free of charge and is available on the LLMCdigital main page . Current content in the portal includes Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central America. Just click on the map of the area you want to research and the menu for that area will open.

This year the Law Library of Congress was a first time exhibitor at AALL. Their booth was managed by some of my friends and former colleagues there. They were publicizing their home page, LAW.gov, which includes access to their Congress.gov content. If you want to see updates to Congress.gov, just go to their blog, In Custodia Legis and click on the category Congress. This will take you to their latest news and tips. You can also see the three most recent articles in the Global Legal Monitor listed on the Law Library’s home page. And, if you have a difficult research question you can use their Ask a Librarian service. “Services [they] Provide [are] Legal and legislative research assistance for foreign, international, federal, and state law Answers to queries requiring resources unique to the Library of Congress Response within 5 business days”

The U.S. Government Publishing Office also had a booth in the AALL Exhibit Hall. They handed out their July 2019 Library Services & Content Management Update. This listed new items available in govinfo.gov such as the Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election (Mueller Report) and historical items such as United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919. They are continuing their Web Archiving project to harvest U.S. federal agency digital publications and websites. They now have over 168,000,000 URL’s.

Although there were many excellent sessions at the AALL meeting, the Opening General Session was the most memorable and moving. The keynote speaker for this session was Shon Hopwood who is now an Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. His inspiring speech told his story about learning the law in a prison law library. He said that the law library saved his life. After he got out of prison he went to law school and now writes about the courts and the criminal justice system. He co-wrote a memoir about his life: Law Man: Memoir of a Jailhouse Lawyer.

I hope you are having a relaxing and enjoyable summer. I will report again from DC later in the year.

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